Commentary on Incumbent school board member election losses (unopposed in Madison…)

Samantha West, Alec Johnson and Rory Linnane:

Tricia Zunker said she knows school board presidents sometimes have a target on their backs. It’s part of the job, she said.

But as Zunker led the Wausau School District board over the past year, she said, “People were so cruel, you’d think I personally brought the pandemic here.”

Angry citizens scrawled messages about her on sidewalks around town. A board president in a neighboring district wrote on Facebook that she was “a waste of physical space on the planet.”

Tuesday’s election brought the coup de grace: Of seven candidates seeking four seats on the board, Zunker finished sixth. Three winners, all newcomers, ran as a bloc against what they called Wausau’s “virtual and hybrid learning nightmare.”

After a year in which parents’ frustrations put schools in the spotlight more than ever, board elections were unusually contentious and partisan. Across the state, many voters opted for change.

Incumbents lost in suburban districts such as Oak Creek-Franklin, and more urban districts such as Green Bay. Those who unseated incumbents criticized reopening plans, transparency and current board members’ political leanings.

Not every district elected candidates pushing for more in-person learning, though. Christina Brey, spokesperson for the Wisconsin Education Association Council representing educators around the state, said the issue swung both ways.

In more urban areas, like Milwaukee and Green Bay, voters favored candidates who were in favor of more cautious reopenings and enjoyed the support of local teachers unions. In other districts, support from teachers was the kiss of death. 

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.